Book Design and Imaging

Picture quality

I just received a photo book that i made and sad to say I’m disappointed with the picture quality. They look great on my computer. Exposure is fine but the printed product is on the darker and grainy side. I took all my pictures a Canon 40D. What is the format to use to get professional looking images on my book.i usually shoot in manual or AV mode. thanks

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Posted by
camp26
Apr 28, 2009 12:49pm PDT
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camp26
 

Hello camp26;

I too have a 40D (currently) and have no problems with my images in BookSmart… but… I also have a colour-calibrated monitor / screen… That, I suspect is your problem…

Dark images (other than the odd one or two) is usually the result of having a screen that is set too bright. This, in turn, fools you into believing that your images are fine, when, in fact, it is the image that is too dark in reality…

There are multiple threads on the forums about calibration; just run a search….

Calibration tools come in all sizes; from economy $ to pro $. Most economy $ software will do the job for you. Check-out Huey,  Spyder  or ColorMunki to get you going…

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Apr 28, 2009 2:16pm PDT
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lkb-28
 

If you are shooting with a 40D and they are grainy, you are doing something in your process wrong.  I have a 20D and have never had a problem. 

 I assume the 40D has the same or similar capture modes as the 20D (small, med & large jpgs and RAW).  Which one did you use?

How did you "develop" the photos? (Canon software, Photoshop, Lightroom etc.)?

Is your monitor calibrated?  Having the brightness up too high can cause your printed output to be too dark.

Try to provide as much information about your tools, and what you did if you want more help figuring this out.

Mike

 

Posted by
Charybdis
Apr 28, 2009 2:21pm PDT
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Charybdis
 

Thanks guys for the reply.

 I capture in large jpgs. I have no real photo editing software but i do use google’s picasa 3.0 to fix exposure and add effects on a picture or two. And no my monitor is not calibrated but i will have that taken care of ASAP.

I’m a rookie and am learning a little more each day. I’d like my book to look like those samples on the blurb site. Calibration explains the dark pics but not the grainy-ness. My ISO is set 200. Again the pics look great on my computer and on Booksmart, but my book looks blurry, grainy and dark (calibration explains the darkness).

Help please. Let me know if you need more info. THANKS a bunch!

Posted by
camp26
Apr 28, 2009 2:57pm PDT
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camp26
 

Just thought of something….

if my screen is suspected to be too bright which makes my pics to look fine but in reality is dark….then why don’t other pictures that other people have taken look over exposed?

Posted by
camp26
Apr 28, 2009 3:05pm PDT
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camp26
 

please preview my book….

just type:  camp26 on search bar

thanks

Posted by
camp26
Apr 28, 2009 3:13pm PDT
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camp26
 

Are the pictures you took dark in the book, and pictures others took ok?  Could you email me a photo that is a problem in the book?  I can look at the resolution with photoshop and see what the exposure looks like on a calibrated screen.

If interested, send it to ms.ps2blurb at gmail.com.  Replace " at " with "@"  If they are not one in the same, send a copy of the original off the camera, and a copy of (if edited) the same one used in the book.

I can’t get to it until late tonight, but I’d be happy to pull it up and evaluate it.

Mike

Posted by
Charybdis
Apr 28, 2009 4:21pm PDT
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Charybdis
 

Hello camp26;

Many points to cover here…

First off; if you’re (at least semi) serious about your photography (as I assume you are with a 40D) then I highly recommend you check-out Photography-On-The-Net (POTN) [click on link]. Subscribe to the Forum (free). It’s an excellent resource specifically aimed at Canon users. There is a wealth of information on there, and a wealth of talent ready to answer any question you can dream of – almost !

Next, you should learn to shoot in RAW format. (AND stay OFF the pre-programmed modes. Use Av, Tv and/or M for best results.) Yes, the post-processing time is a little extended, but the HUGE increase in image quality is well worth the small extra effort. Until you become comfortable with dealing with RAW files, you can set your 40D to shoot BOTH RAW + L JPEG, so you get the best of both worlds. You will also have a bench-mark to go by when playing with some RAW tests…

Your 40D came with a CD which packs a program called Digital Photo Professional (DPP). It is a RAW converter. It is an excellent package. I use it almost exclusively over Adobe’s ACR; it is built specifically for Canon RAW files. This will do 90% of the post-processing work for you. Then I suggest you either buy PhotoShop Elements or download a freebie called GIMP Both are excellent editing packages; much better than Picasa…

Next, use ISO100 wherever possible. Noise starts to creep in to images even at ISO200, specailly in blues (sky) and shadows. I suspect that is what you are seeing when you talk of "grainy-ness". I use Noise Ninja to combat these effects.

As for screen v. print; that’s another volume of explanation, but the brief answer is that your screen is back-lit and the display mode is less critical than when viewing images in print. Also the paper used by Blurb is only semi-matte, which absorbs light, rather than the reflective light you see on glossy papaer or on screen. That also adds to the "appearance" of darker images.

Now I need coffee…

Come on ack if you need more…

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Apr 29, 2009 1:37am PDT
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lkb-28
 

camp26, Lee,

I just looked at the jpg that camp26 used in the book.  There is nothing grainy about it, and it has plenty of resolution (3888×2592).  I zoomed way in and the detail on the skin can be seen clearly.  Also the picture is not dark at all on my calibrated screen.  You may have gotten a bad print for some reason.  Looking at that photo, I don’t know what to tell you to do different.  You may want to contact Blurb and see if you can get a free reprint.

Just out of curiosity, do you know where the facility that printed your book is located?  Mine have all come from the Seattle area and I haven’t had any problems.

Good Luck,

Mike

Posted by
Charybdis
Apr 29, 2009 10:35am PDT
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Charybdis
 

Lee, Mike,

First of all, thanks for all your help. I shoot only in Av, Tv but mostly manual.

The address on my box says San Francisco

I will try everything you guys suggested and I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress. Do you guys use the premium paper option when creating a book because that’s what i had used.

Any good deals on photoshop CS? Thanks

Posted by
camp26
Apr 29, 2009 1:28pm PDT
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camp26
 

If the budget is tight, Serif Software has their version of Photoshop which they call PhotoPlus.  It does most everything Photoshop does, but for much, much less cost.   Make no mistake, of the two, my choice would be the world standard of excellence with is Photoshop.

The reason to be aware of PhotoPlus is that it’s on sale right now for $39.95 vs about $700 for Photoshop.

http://www.serif.com/photoplus/

I have no connection whatsoever with Serif other than to have purchased and used several of their products.  I post this here only to be helpful to someone who would like to use a sophisticated photo program and doesn’t want to spend the money for Photoshop.

Posted by
deanej
Apr 29, 2009 2:37pm PDT
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deanej
 

camp26;

Respectfully I suggest there is no need to go to CS4 at this stage of the game! Learn to walk before you can run!

CS4 is a mighty powerful program with a mighty powerful price – but, in all honesty, for image editing, I have yet to find anything that can’t be done in CS4’s little brother – PhotoShop Elements (7) Can be had for sub $100…

If you really want CS4 – then shop around on flea-bay, but as always – it’s a case of "buyer beware"!

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Apr 30, 2009 1:57am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Lee, I just had my first child and I’m taking tons of pics of him….i’d really like to give my photos a professional look. Can that be done w/ Elements?  If so, why’s CS4 so darn expen$ive? I downloaded the trial version of CS4 and man, I AM CONFUSED.

Thanks

Posted by
camp26
May 3, 2009 1:24am PDT
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camp26
 

camp26;

Congratulations… Did you want the statistics on just how much that little bundle of joy is gonna set you back over the next 30 years ? (We’re past that stage – and collecting grand-children now – by the bucket-load!!!)

I am absolutely positive that Elements will do all that you will need – and more! But understanding your camera first will do more! That 40D is a GREAT tool… You gotta get the image right first before you can really make it pop with Elements…

Elements is a sub-set of CS; and is aimed at the image editing and enhancement arena, with enough creative tools thrown in to make it a VERY good program in its own right…

CS (Creative Suite) is really aimed at Graphic Artists & Designers who want to CREATE images – in addition to any editing & enhancement… Those creation tools are very resource heavy – and hence expensive to program – and therefore – buy!

I really do highly recommend that you get started with Elements – you will NOT be disappointed. For a good guide to understanding how Elements works – I suggest you buy Scott Kelby’s book. he is considered the PhotoShop guru…

There are also tons of forums & other "how to" resources on the web for Elements. A simple Google will unlock multitudes of them…

Good luck;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
May 3, 2009 7:18am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Hahaha. I can already imagine how deep i’m going to have to dig into my pockets and he’s only 4 months old. Well, congrats to you! Grand children are great!

You’re right. I should work on understanding my camera before I start eyeballing CS. Thanks for all your advice and help!

Alden

Posted by
camp26
May 3, 2009 9:47am PDT
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camp26
 

I found this website to be quite helpful regarding how to do some of the various effects in photoshop.  I believe it’s geared toward the CS series, but I’ve been able to follow the instructions in my old copy of photoshop 7.0. 

Good Luck – with the pictures AND the childrearing!!

Regi

Posted by
rbgool
May 3, 2009 5:33pm PDT
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rbgool
 

Awesome site!!! Thanks Regi

My son AJ thanks you all too =)

Posted by
camp26
May 4, 2009 11:03am PDT
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camp26